Embracing Global Engagement Conference

Hear from undergraduate and graduate BGSU students about their global experiences!

BGSU undergraduate and graduate students will share their experiences on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 during the fifth annual ”Embracing Global Engagement Conference: Internships, Service- and Experiential Learning in BGSU Education-Abroad, International, and Cultural-Immersion Programs”.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Welcome & Keynote Speaker  9:15 a.m.
Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

Keynote Presentation  9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Rebecca Skinner Green, Associate Professor, African Art and Culture and Art History, School of Art and Director of the Africana Studies Program “The Study Abroad Experience: Global Encounters, Personal Growth

Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

Oral Presentations Round 1  10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

Poster Presentations  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

Light refreshments will be served during the poster session.

Oral Presentations Round 2  1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

Closing Remarks 4:30 -4:45 p.m.
Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228

2018 Conference Program Coming Soon

The top presenters will receive an original glasswork designed by BGSU alumnus Austin Wittenberg.

embracing global engagement glass trophy


Opportunity to share your overseas experiences with the BGSU community.    

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS) invites presentation proposals from undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines, who have participated in 2017-2018 in:

  • internships or research/scholarly/creative activities while studying abroad,
  • international public policy or service learning projects,
  • research/scholarly/creative projects as international students at BGSU,
  • cultural experiences (e.g., Navajo reservation trip),
  • research/scholarly/creative projects with global/international perspectives.

Everyone is welcome to attend and we particularly recommend this event to undergraduate and graduate students contemplating to go abroad as part of a BGSU program!

Proposal submission deadline by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.   

Presentation Proposal Submission

The presentation types for this conferences will be as follows:

    Poster Presentations: Standard poster size (4 feet wide by 3 feet tall) or smaller.

    Oral Presentations: 12-minute Powerpoint presentation with 3 minutes questions.

    Video Presentation: 5-10 minutes video segment consisting of still pictures and/or video materials.

Make sure to see these helpful tips on how to prepare presentations.

Oral Presentations Round One Abstracts

Session One - Hoskin's Global Scholars

McKayla Raines (France, Germany, Austria) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

International Studies (Advisor: Beatrice Guenther)

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was specifically created to aid Palestinians who had lost their livelihood due to the conflict. Upon its creation in 1950 the UNRWA was responding to the needs of 750,000 Palestinians. Through their continuous fight for things such as state recognition and inalienable basic human rights, the number of Palestinians eligible for aid has grown to about 5 million. By contrast, the U.S. continues to give 3.1 billion dollars in military aid to the State of Israel further complicating international relations in the Middle East and the plight of countless Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and the refugee camps located in the West Bank or neighboring countries.  The best way to work towards peace in the region is to understand both sides of the story, or in this case both sides of the “wall”, referring to the apartheid wall separating Israel and Palestine that I encountered in Bethlehem. This presentation will give a glimpse into the lives of a few of the Palestinians I have encountered. My goal is to counter the misrepresentations of the media as they are often portrayed to be one of two things: suffering or terrorists. I will present a brief overview of my encounters with the occupation with photos. In addition, I will explain the challenges I faced as an English teaching volunteer and the experiences from which I learned the most about Palestinians and the conflict.   

Mikayla Mueller (England, Spain, and France) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling (Advisor: Marlise Rene Lonn)

This past year I embarked on a journey to further explore my interest in the nontraditional field of Nature Therapy. Nature Therapy is an umbrella term used for the utilization of Nature to better individuals who struggle with mental illnesses. I met with academic and mental health professionals throughout my international year abroad at Keele University, located in the United Kingdom. The purpose of these meetings was to have open discussions with mental health professionals regarding their personal beliefs and knowledge of the use of Nature Therapy. I then added to my knowledge by volunteering at a local nonprofit called W.E.L.LI.E.S, for a semester. W.E.L.LI.E.S  utilized activities in natural settings, centered around animals, plants, and creativity to aid in the therapeutic treatment of mentally ill adults in the surrounding area. I then concluded my year abroad by spending the summer taking part in my own nature focused experience. I did this by completing a 550 mile hike across the north of Spain, known as The Camino de Santiago. Throughout the hike I documented my experiences, thoughts, and feelings by writing  journal entries, taking pictures, and making videos. To conclude I utilized the various perspectives and experiences I had with Nature Therapy to aid in inspiring the beginnings of my own Psychological Research, supervised by B.G.S.U’s Professor of Psychology, Dara R. Musher-Eizenman.    

Ashley Mitchell (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

Shrines have a long and integrated history in Japanese culture. However, as Japan is in the middle of what is considered a major technological age (and has been for some time now), it is interesting to consider what has become of these historical sites. Have they disappeared from the cultural face of Japan altogether, or established a new role for themselves in modern Japanese society? How do shrines coexist with the cities that have been built around them? 

Rebekkah Gresh (Brazil) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Biological Sciences (Advisor: Eileen Underwood)

Homage to the Natural World describes a journey completed throughout the country of Brazil intended to gain an experiential understanding of astronomy, biology, geology, and human nature. The goal of exploring the world was to bring the experiences back and create a hands-on and meaningful science curriculum for my future classroom. The experience was generously sponsored by the Hoskins Scholarship program.

Session Two - Global Perspectives

Madison Wells (Global) – Tiffin University Undergraduate Program

AirForce ROTC (Advisor: David Garon)

An Army ROTC internship that included an introduction to cultural resources management on US military installations using archaeological sites and historic districts on Fort Drum.  In addition to touring and visiting sites, interns were presented with opportunities to work with the Fort Drum field crew and to participate in archaeology and natural resource outreach activities. Interns learned how cultural property protection (CCP) plays into active duty military life while deployed and while at home. Dr. Rush, who ran the internship program, trains military personal on CCP with mock villages, allowing physical application of training techniques. The Military Cultural Heritage Action Group partners with the Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield to train and advise military leaders on culturally significant areas and objects around the world to highlight the need for the protective consideration during conflicts and disaster response.  The presenter will discuss her internship with this program, and her time with the real "Monument Men".


Dominic Bashford (Great Britain) – Undergraduate Program

Business (Advisor: Tim Chambers)

To many American and Canadian students, studying abroad implies going for one term, and during that term, doing as much travelling as possible. Some students even remark that "studying" isn't even expected. During my nine months living in the UK, I did all I could do to fully immerse myself into the life of a university student in the UK: speaking, working, studying and volunteering, as well as other things. In this presentation I will talk about what I did to be 'more than just a tourist' living abroad, and why we should re-think what studying abroad is about.

Sam Panter (Spain) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

International Studies (Advisor: Beatrice Guenther)

I would like to discuss my transition from teaching kids who were almost if not completely fluent in english during my time at la conexión in Bowling Green to teaching english to kids who understood very little english in Guadalajara, Spain. I will present cultural differences, the development of my teaching methods overtime and my overall adaption to teaching english in Spain.

Audra DeLaney (Puerto Rico) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Political Science (Advisor: Nicole Kalaf-Hughes

As a sophomore in college, I was searching for more depth in my college experience. I was ahead in college credits and wanted to participate in a study away experience that would challenge me and help me grow as a person. I was explaining my situation to a BGSU economics professor and she told me about the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program based in Mystic, Connecticut. She said it was a domestic study away experience that would challenge me through extensive travel and intensive research opportunities across four different disciplines. As an experiential learning opportunity, it was all of that and more.   A collaboration of Williams College and the Mystic Seaport Museum, Williams-Mystic educates undergraduate students in a transformative semester-long academic investigation of the sea accompanied by original research opportunities and travel throughout the United States. During the spring 2018 as a junior, I sailed the open ocean around Puerto Rico aboard a tall ship, learned about the terrain of the West Coast and what San Francisco was like as a 19th and 20th century port city in Northern California, and came face to face with individuals, including a Native American tribe chief, who deal with the effects of climate change in Southern Louisiana. I completed four rigorous research projects in literature, history, science, and policy in between all of the travel. During this interdisciplinary experience, I learned that the ocean and public relations have more in common than I once thought. I was able to use my writing skills to complete a policy research project on a controversial Great Lakes issue, while also spending my time telling the stories of my fellow classmates and other Williams-Mystic alumni who walked in my shoes years before.

Jordan Arrington & Julia Gallatin (Honduras) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies (Advisor: Jessica Kiss)

Traveling to underdeveloped countries for a mission trip may be questioned by some, although the benefits to the residents of these countries and the students taking part in these opportunities far outweigh any potential risks that may come with traveling. In this presentation, attendees will learn about the mission of Global Medical Brigades, a non-profit organization that focuses on a holistic model to encourage sustainable communities. This presentation will highlight the BGSU chapter’s 2018 trip to Honduras including traveling to and from the village from the compound in Honduras, challenges experienced while in country, a breakdown of each day, and cultural experiences gained. Future plans will also be noted for the chapter, such as when the 2019 trip will take place, where the BGSU chapter plans to travel to, and the goals of the upcoming trip.  

Renee Wott (India) – BGSU Graduate Program

Political Science (Advisor: Abhishek Bhati)

To define poverty as a state of being does not represent people in poverty on an international level. Defining poverty on an international level, does not best represent the number of people living in conditions that can accurately measure the depth of poverty. A better way to explain poverty is using it as a social construct. Poverty is measured and displayed in different ways in different areas around the globe. Poverty rates can fluctuate, although I do believe poverty will always exist in the world to some degree. The most important thing that individuals can do to help decrease the amount of people in poverty ridden areas around the world is education and advocacy.The monetary value of poverty is not comparable between states. According to the United Nations living under $1.25 a day defines the poverty line internationally (Alkire, 2014). What if a state defies the poverty line for that specific nation under or above the international jurisdiction? This is the case for both India and the United States. In the United States one is considered to live under the poverty line by living on less than $17 a day. While on the other hand, one who lives below the poverty line in India lives on less than 60 cents a day (Biswas, 2012). Within the article written by Biswas, he notes that the number of people living in poverty in India that amounts to around three hundred sixty million people decreased about seven percent but this is due to the lower qualification of what it mean to live in poverty (Biswas, 2012). Accessibility to resources and sanitation needs is what I would argue to defining what it means to live in poverty. Poor and poverty are two different things. Poor, by definition is the lacking of sufficient funds to live a comfortable life in the society where you reside (“Poor”, n.d). Poverty is the state of being extremely poor (“Poverty”, n.d). Poverty stretches the term poor as far as possible; if you were to take gum and pull it until it is so thin that it is about to break, that is taking the word poor and stretching it until there is nothing left and that leaves you with the definition of poverty.

Heather Bloom (Paraguay) – BGSU Graduate Program

History (Advisor: Amical Challu)

Ahecha means “I see” in Guaraní, the indigenous language of the Republic of Paraguay. My journey as a Peace Corps volunteer allowed me to truly see the country beyond the surface that tourists scratch. I arrived in Paraguay at the end of September 2010 for three-months of training, a time which we were all feeling every single emotion all at once. Building friendships with other volunteers and host families were the only way to survive. But that December, just a few weeks before the holidays, I was sent to the small community of Potrero Avendaño to live and serve for the next two years. It was ridiculously hot and the only relief other than taking an hour bus ride to town to go to the super market where there was air conditioning was to drink tereré (a shared cold tea of yerba mate) under the mango tree. I struggled with being away from my parents, other volunteers, and really about anyone with whom I could identify or speak English. I was an emotional wreck and had to fight a rooster out of my bed! As an Environmental Education and Conservation volunteer, I worked with my Paraguayan counterparts and the local youth, utilizing a jopera (a mix) of Spanish and Guaraní languages – often making many mistakes. My language skills eventually improved, and I began having deeper conversations with my neighbors and truly connect. I was immersing in the language and culture. I was not ready to leave when my service commitment was complete, and I decided to extend my service till October 2013. Upon completion of my Peace Corps service, I backpacked across Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador for three months, affording me a fresh perspective about Latin America and myself – during those months I didn’t quite identify as American, I saw myself more as Paraguayan. I reluctantly returned to the U.S. in August 2014. The culture shock on the return to home was surreal. I was not the same; I returned as a stronger, independent woman that had seen the world. Ahecha.

Poster Session Abstracts

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Alex Bakhaus, Kiara Vance, Ivy Keen & Jody Kunk-Czaplicki (England & Scotland) – BGSU Graduate Program

Higher Education (Advisor: Ellen Broido)

How to best engage students in campus decision making and operations is an ongoing conversation for university faculty, staff, and administrators.  Self-advocacy and autonomy are important skills that students should be developing during college, in order to contribute to the larger community and learn valuable lessons for life after college.  Using data collected from conversations with higher education staff and administrators in Scotland and England, we shall explore the ways in which students in Scotland and England engage in student democracy and peer-to-peer support through participation in Students’ Unions.  When we trust and inspire students to take an active role in institutional decision making the outcome is a culture of shared responsibility and student activism.

Isabel Alvarado & Khyrsten Academia (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

The purpose of this presentation is to examine different Japanese gardens and the elements that make them. In Japan, as in many other cultures, gardens can be traced back to early urban settlements. Japanese gardens have played a very important role in the Japanese people’s lives for centuries and this is because these gardens embody native values, cultural beliefs and religious principles. The Japanese have borrowed many influences from the Chinese into their gardens and then incorporated their own elements into their gardens. Some elements of Japanese gardens include: water, rocks, islands, ponds, teahouse, trees etc. These elements help to make the gardens alive and prosperous. This presentation will cover the variety of beautiful gardens in Japan. 

Kayson Carlin (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

After living in Japan for a month, the author takes a look at the prevalence of anime in it's home country of Japan. Ranging from the everyday activities, to specific cultural excursions, Japanese society is saturated with anime and manga, creating a mega-hub for pop culture fanatics and consumers alike. Through personal experiences, the author describes such instances in which anime is intertwined with daily life.

Rebecca Fossum (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

Walking through the streets of Japan, you do not realize how much of an impact music has on society.  From jingles and chimes to J-Pop and traditional Japanese music,  the art of music is used more, and in unique ways, to change society's daily life.  This poster will effectively teach about the various ways Japanese society has innovated music to fit into daily life, how music affects Japanese pop culture and the younger generation, as well as how Japanese music brings people from all walks of life together.  The poster will include many visuals showing how this phenomenon is happening, as well as statistics and real-life experiences to further teach about the topic at hand.

Alexandra Stack (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

Japan is a huge example of new and old culture combining. Japanese fashion is also reflective of this, where crazy patterns are on modest cuts of clothing. J-fashion encompasses many different niches, including mainstream clothing, Lolita, kawaii, gothic, dekotora, greasers, and hip-hop. These are just more recent examples of fashion trends, but throughout history Japan has had many trends the same as anywhere else in the world.

Seth Willinger (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

Shinto is a unique religion exclusive to the nation of Japan. As of 2013 there were around 80,000 documented Shinto Shrines throughout Japan, though in 1867 there were more than double that number. The origins of various Shinto practices are a mystery. However, the subsequent development of said practices and the beliefs which inform them are far better documented and so ripe for study. Through historical examination of Shinto, the relation between traditional Japanese cultural values as they relate to the natural world and Shinto rituals becomes clear. Shinto is also an integral part of traditional Japanese forms of artistry such as Noh theater and the national sport of Sumo. By understanding the way these traditions have evolved through Japanese history, one can better appreciate the multifaceted influence which Shinto has throughout Japanese culture.

Seth Willinger (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

In studying the ongoing process of achieving complete international nuclear disarmament it is prudent to examine the conditions which must be cultivated to facilitate reaching this goal. One key point that must be considered is the theory of nuclear deterrence and how it is used to justify the funding of nuclear programs. Another point is the unique role which Japan plays in the efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and the issues which the Japanese educational system must address to ensure that their students will be effective advocates as informed voters. Lastly, the international tensions that perpetuate nuclear programs and the ways in which activists worldwide can transcend militaristic national policies via local government elucidates a way in which nuclear programs can be ended.

Victoria Del Signore (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

This poster will recount my most memorable experiences in Japan; the Asuke Men’s Festival and my return to the town for the Autumn Festival Korankei. I will also share some Waka poetry I wrote during the experience.

Sean Connor (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

The presentation will be about the internship in Japan working for Hida Hotel Plaza.  Hida Hotel Plaza is a hotel located in Takayama, Gifu, Japan.  It is a company based on customer service and tourism.  It is one of the most convenient hotels in Takayama because it is about a couple blocks from the train station and most of the attractions are about fifteen minutes away . The presentation consists of the basic understanding of Japanese culture learned from books and social media, the business culture of this specific company, the interpersonal relationship with the company’s upper management and co-workers, the relationships between the internship people, what the work entailed, and the conclusion to how the internship went.

Kayla DeMuth & Justin Newcomb (Europe) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Family & Consumer Sciences (Advisor: Laura Landry-Meyer)

Intercultural Wonderment is the degree to which individuals become comfortable when they are culturally uncomfortable and able to immerse themselves in another culture. The immersion outside of one's cultural comfort zone allows people to explore behaviors, communication, and rituals. Understanding globalization, looking at the world through a larger lens and having cultural competence is important. A sense of cultural competence is especially relevant for those of you who wish to work with families and individuals all of your life, in human development as well as family studies and education. During a short-term study abroad experience we collected qualitative data of the student's cultural experience.

Kellie Sheridan (Greece) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Geology (Advisor: Fran Snyder)

Santorini is an island located off the Southwest coast of Greece.  The geologic makeup of this island is very interesting and slightly confounding. In this project it was researched as to why parts of the island present with different colors of sand and rock. This is important because if an answer is determined, then it may be able to be more widely applied to other geographic locations. To solve this problem, extensive research was conducted on the volcanic history on and around this island and the effect it had on the geologic makeup of the island itself, as well as its beaches. Through this research, a scale model was made of the island, demonstrating the varied rocks and geologic structures that can be found on the island. The results of the research are presented in the model, as well as through a detailed explanation of the volcanic history of Santorini. Conclusions that can be drawn from this project include the use of The Principle of Uniformitarianism to explain the past using hints from the present. Using these data, it can be observed and concluded that where similar types of sand and rocks exist, those locations may share a similar volcanic history to that of Santorini.

Kelly Kayed (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

During my year abroad in Japan I noticed many different things, but the one thing that continued to astound me was the appreciation for nature that seemed always present. Whether it be the flowers planted on street corners to make even the mundane beautiful, or needing to only take one step off the bustling city sidewalks to enter a shrine that would encircle you like a forest, Japan taught me to appreciate nature. Which is odd given that I was in a densely packed city that felt more like Chicago than Bowling Green. Yet somehow through their meticulously clean streets, thoughtfully planted flowers or trees, or the celebration of Ohanami, flower viewing, I learned to notice the little things. When was the last time you noticed the way the sunset burns a bright pink-orange that sparkles off of the windows? Or the way a tree reaches towards the sky like it's a passage to another world? Or how garbage spoils the pristine natural way of things? We tend to take these things for granted in our modern age, and it's even worse in big cities where nature is few and far between. Japan gave me an appreciation for nature, and taught me that even in the concrete jungles, having beautiful nature isn't an impossible task. I would like to share this lesson with others with a slideshow of images combined with text.

Hannah Wirth (Europe) - BGSU Undergraduate Program

Management (Advisor: Howook Shin)

While I had an amazing adventure studying in Europe, there were some struggles. It was wild, fun, new, and eyeopening. I learned a lot about other cultures and myself that I did not know before. In this presentation you will see how I functioned in Europe and made the most out my study abroad experience.  

Oral Presentations - Round Two  

Session Three -  Asia

Lauren (Lee) Eitel (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

This will be a oral-style presentation with a powerpoint in the background to display key topics and visuals. The Presentation will focus on the hopeful reconstruction and friendship ties between America and Japan after the atomic bomb on August 6th, 1945. Key topics will include.... *What happened during the atomic bomb and repsonses *The Schmoe House Foundation *The World Friendship Center *How Hope Can Be Discovered 

Michelle Moore (Japan) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Asian Studies (Advisor: Akiko Kawano-Jones)

Japan is a well-known exporter of popular culture. From anime and comic books to music and T.V. dramas. Bowling Green State University gave me the pleasure of being able to study abroad in this beautiful country. It was there that I was able to dive into a particular form of Japanese popular culture; idol culture. Idols are defined as a young and almost manufactured starlet. And in Japan, they are everywhere. Selling anything you could imagine from food, cosmetics to promoting Japanese railway lines. I took my time abroad to dive deeper into the idol industry. In my presentation, I plan on explaining what idol culture is like in Japan. What groups are the most popular in Japan and what a national idol is exactly. The process of becoming an idol and the various types of idols. I will dive into the type of life idols lead and also the issue of the industry such as; the sexualization of young girls, the contracts they sign and treatment by agencies. I will also discuss the idols diehard obsessive fanbase.

Justin Mascarin, Hannah Coursey & Cheyenne Culbertson (China) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Min Yang)

The presentation is about the group's internship in China and their interaction with local Chinese people. 

Megan Swartz, Tanner Reed & Riley Carson (China) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Min Yang)

This group of students will present their projects on Chinese women and Chinese fine art that they completed in China in the 2018 summer study program in Beijing and Xi'an.

Marche Stacey (China) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Management Department (Advisor: Man Zhang)

Cody Briggs (China) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Management Department (Advisor: Man Zhang)

The implementation of eco beef processes.

Olivia Henderson & Bryant Kuhlman (Thailand) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Teaching and Learning (Advisor: Gabriel Matney)

The idea of education is a topic that has many different meanings and approaches to people around the world.  The content that the students are expected to learn, the way in which they are taught, as well as the relationships of those involved in the process can all vary depending upon the culture in which you are placed.  With these ideas in mind, we had the opportunity to explore mathematics education in Thailand in several different settings. By observing and interacting with Thai students at various points in their educational careers from the middle school to the collegiate level, we were able to gain insight on how their culture views education.  Our experiences revealed some unique differences between schools in Thailand and those in the United States.  From simply looking at the physical appearance of the classroom and the interactions between the teachers and students, it was evident that the Thai’s perspective on education is not the same as what we grew up with here in America.

Session Four - Europe

Corina Kreill & Madison Scherer (Great Britain) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

Intervention Services (Advisor: Trinka Messenheimer)

Have you ever wondered who’s Brexit or what country Luxembourg is in? Or have you ever thought that North America consists of three countries? If so, maybe it’s time to update your passport and explore the world! Before our education abroad experience to Keele University in Staffordshire, England we wondered and thought these things, too. In this presentation, we will discuss the importance of traveling abroad and being globally aware, while sharing our experiences studying and traveling in European countries.

Olive Bartholomew (Spain) – BGSU Undergraduate Program

International Studies (Advisor: Beatrice Guenther)

Upon finishing my semester abroad in Spain, I chose to become a WWOOFer on three different farms over the span of five weeks. In my presentation, I will discuss what WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) stands for, why I chose to join the organization, and how others can get involved. My experiences on the three farms gave me a unique opportunity to learn more about sustainable practices, continue to practice the Spanish language, and immerse myself in different regions of Spain.

Sarah Heineken (Germany) – BGSU Graduate Program

Educational Foundations, Leadership & Policy (Advisor: Bruce Collet)

Using the guiding research question "How do German teacher candidates perceive their role in their secondary school-aged refugee students' lives?", I conducted 11 semi-structured interviews in a qualitative, phenomenological case study. Although data analysis is still underway, preliminary results indicate emerging themes such as the critical nature of effectively instructing refugees in the German language in order for teacher candidates to be able relate to students. Another emergent theme is that of differing opinions on how best to facilitate integration of refugee students into German society. Furthermore, some students expressed frustration at the lack of university-organized professional development opportunities to receive training specifically related to working with refugee students. This research was made possible by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), an entity that provides funding for research and language-learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students alike. This presentation will encompass both the design and implementation of my research project, as well as my experience researching in Dresden with DAAD sponsorship.

Julian Gillilan (Austria) – BGSU Graduate Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Kristie Foell)

I have already given this presentation at the BGSU AYA 50th Anniversary celebration in May to the alumni who came to Salzburg for the celebration as well as President Rodgers and Dr. Salazar-Valentine. My presentation is over my experiences while interning at the University of Salzburg's International Relations Office. There, I helped plan the 50th anniversary celebration, helped organize the process of the Austrian students who come to Bowling Green on the exchange, as well as organize the paperwork for incoming ERASMUS+ students, who would be coming to study in Salzburg the following year. Seeing that this was my first internship, I had many expectations on what it would be and I would like to compare and contrast what I expected to happen verses what actually happened in my presentation.

Hannah Shank (Austria) – BGSU Graduate Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Kristie Foell)

I will be discussing my internship in Austria as an English Teaching Assistant in an Austrian Middle School/High School setting, specifically: -What I did in and out of the classroom -How I overcame the language barrier -How I adjusted to the Austrian teaching environment -What I gained and what the school gained from having me there.

Eva-Maria Trinkaus (Austria) – Fulbright Program

World Languages and Cultures (Advisor: Edgar Landgraf)

In this presentation, I would like to present about my Fulbright Teaching and Research stay at BGSU and talk about how my academic path in my Bachelor's, Master's and now during my PhD has been largely influenced by several study abroad programs that were either organized by my university or myself. I would like to share my experiences and thoughts that I had had before applying for the first time, and thereby encourage students to seize the opportunity to go abroad at a very early stage of their academic career. My presentation will emphasize on how to find study abroad opportunities, and how one abroad experience leads to another due to the connections you make and people you meet along your path. The presentation will mainly focus on studying and teaching abroad through the Fulbright program, but also incorporate other aspects that have led me to applying for a Fulbright scholarship in the United States, such as summer schools and short term programs, and network activities of the academic networks I am a member of. I believe that this presentation will give students insight into how to structure and plan their studies in a foreign country, and encourage them to apply for one of the opportunities offered by BGSU.

Session Five - Africa

Lyndah Wasike (Kenya) – BGSU Graduate Program

Education (Advisor: Matthew Lavery)

A PROPOSAL ABSTRACT TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCE ABROAD ‘HOME AWAY FROM HOME’ Moving into a new country is characterized by exposure to a new environment and culture, this abstract highlights the cultural shock that I got when I first arrived in the United States. It also sheds light on how to adapt to the new environment and what happens when international students return home after staying abroad. It further discusses how I plan to benefit from my master’s program at BGSU and give back to my community in future.  First and foremost, Cultural shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse. These signs or cues include the one thousand ways in which we orient ourselves to the situations of daily life. (KALERVO,1960). An example of the culture shock I encountered was the brief greetings in the U.S.A unlike the extended greetings in Kenya. The best way to adapt to cultural shock is to keep an open mind, do background research and try to polish language proficiency for such settings.  Secondly, reversed cultural shock is the frustrated feeling we get when we travel back home and realize that our stay abroad substantially changed us. After my stay abroad as a Fulbright teaching assistant at Brown university, I got back to Kenya and struggled to readjust to life. This takes time and patience.  To conclude, gender equality and women’s empowerment is the third of the eight Millennium Development Goals. It is an intrinsic rather than an instrumental goal explicitly valued as an end in itself. (Kabeer,2005). Following this, I hope to combine my previous experience in Africa with my exposure abroad as a teacher and an international student, to serve the vulnerable populations in Kenya. My research will focus on women’s education and empowerment. This particular topic interests me because I hope to close the gender gaps in my community and to solve the challenges I faced as a woman to attain higher education.  REFERENCES Kabeer, N. (2005). Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: A Critical Analysis of the Third Millennium Development Goal. Gender and Development, 13(1), 13-24. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.bgsu.edu/stable/20053132 Kalervo, O., 1960.Cultural Shock: Adjustment to new cultural environments. Vol-7, Issue 4, pp. 177 – 182.    

Ethan Jackson (Kenya) – BGSU Graduate Program

MACIE Program (Advisor: Hyeyoung Bang)

There are 3 million people with disabilities living in Kenya.  The Kenyan government has passed legislation that promotes the inclusivity and protection for people with disabilities, but the unemployment rate for this population remains the same.  One commonly expressed reason for this is the stigma that comes along with a disability.  This qualitative case study uses grounded theory to investigate teachers’ perspectives on disability and their expectations of their students after they graduate.  I also wanted to investigate what kind of educational, employment, or social goals students have for themselves after school.  For this study, 10 students and 8 teachers were selected to participate.  Teachers were interviewed to determine their previous experiences with people with disabilities, expectations for their students, and their knowledge of community-based resources.  Students were asked to draw their ideal lifestyles, and these pictures were used as a discussion tool to understand the employment, educational, and social desires students imagine their life will look like after they finish school.  By better understanding students’ desires and teachers’ experiences, I hope that we can better empower students with disabilities to access the world around them.

Amelia Amemate (Ghana) – BGSU Graduate Program

Ethnic Studies (Advisor: Timothy Messer-Kruse)

On January 31st, 2018, a prominent Ghanaian lawyer with a large followership on social media made a post in which he stated that whether a woman works or not, her place is the home and the kitchen. As a Women’s Empowerment activist who uses social media to educate my followers about gender issues, I challenged him by pointing out that his wife does not use her vagina to cook, wash and clean therefore his argument is unreasonable. This infuriated him so much that he investigated my background and dedicated the following days’ posts on his page insulting and discrediting my work as much as he could. Not much of a surprise to me, when the incident gained media attention, majority of the people, including fellow women, supported his views. After battling the emotional and psychological trauma I suffered, I wrote a 10 page letter to him and published it on my blog. To my surprise, this garnered a lot of support. As a result of my work, I was one of the Ghanaians who represented Ghana and my organization, Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership in Africa, at this year’s UN Women’s Conference in New York. During the Spring Semester, I took Feminist Theory (6200) and developed a Feminist Manifesto based on the incident as my final project. If I am approved, I will discuss observations I made working as a gender activist in the Ghanaian space, the challenges that come with it and some recommendations moving forward.